Randolph County store, owners named in federal indictment

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RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. -- Two men with ties to a clothing store in Randolph County are facing federal charges for allegedly lying to the U.S. government about merchandise sold at the business.

Chad Branson and Larry McKenzie are accused of conspiracy to defraud the United States and international money laundering.

The two men are the president and former president of Branco Enterprises -- the company has a store in Asheboro called Clothes Wearhouse.

These charges stem from the clothing sold at Clothes Wearhouse.

Documents from the United States Department of Justice state the two men defrauded the government out of at least $18,000 by falsifying custom forms so they could underpay import duty fees. Investigators say the men lied about the worth of the clothes they were importing from China to escape higher fees.

Prosecutors say they can prove at least three different occasions where the individuals falsified documents to escape import fees.

Investigators say the men also wired money to China to pay for the merchandise.

If convicted, the suspects could face a maximum of 25 years in federal prison and pay $750,000 in fines. The company could face up to $1 million in fines.

A defense attorney close to this case tells us the men have pleaded not guilty.

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